A handful of cartoonists have found fodder in President Obama’s 50th birthday today. But none has made Comic Riffs smile quite like Atlanta’s Mike Luckovich and his tie-in to the debt-ceiling debate.

The faces are everything.

Boehner’s nacho-orange tan and misting-blue eyes. McConnell’s bespectacled understatement. And new AARP candidate Obama, looking as if he’s doing a slow-burn behind a steely gaze. (And me, I would have even dappled the prez’s hair with a bit more gray, befitting the occasion.)

Capped by the sheer silliness of the birthday hats, these three heads (of government) set up the gag expertly.

Some critics like to ding Luckovich for not rendering more elaborate backgrounds. But when you can draw faces like this — something Luckovich perfected back in Seattle as a teen street caricature artist — then demanding Michael Ramirez-like backdrops is to quibble.

Bravo, Luckovich.

TABLING THE DEBATE: Obama's 50th-birthday guests. (MIKE LUCKOVICH/Atlanta Journal Constitution)

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